The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, says the Nigerian Army has deployed troops to help stem the clashes between farmers and herdsmen across three states and stabilise them.
Buratai said this at the official inauguration of the Nigerian Army Farms and Ranch and Presentation of Farm Implements to the Army by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in Giri on Tuesday.
He listed the states where the troops had been sent to as Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa, noting that the Army would support the Federal Government to stem the clashes.
According to him, once the nation attains food security, all other forms of insecurity including insurgency in the North-East, militancy, kidnapping and other forms of security issues would be reduced.
Buratai said the Barracks Initiative Programme which was initiated by him, was aimed at cultivating the culture of investment in agricultural value chain by officers and soldiers of the Army and their families, as well as providing jobs for the youth in the barracks.
“As at today, we have almost 1000 herds of cattle within the Nigerian Army Barracks and formations. This, is one of the ranches scattered in all the Nigerian Army formations.
“We are ready to support the Federal Government to stabilise the farmers’ herdsmen clashes across the country.
“We are tasking our Special Forces to ensure that everywhere they are deployed across the country at short notice, they stem the conflict.
“We have properly deployed across Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa States within the axis where we have the conflict. Once there is peace, the development on agriculture will thrive for the good of our country.
“Areas such as ranching, fisheries, poultry, production for eggs and meat, green houses and plantation are now practised in most barracks of the Nigerian Army,’’ he said.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, commended the Nigerian Army for its agricultural initiative.
He assured them of the ministry’s commitment toward providing them with farm implements as well as equipment to boost both milk and meat production for their animals.
“This is can be done because the Army has done it. We can’t thank you enough.
“I have been telling people that this kind of initiative is a solution to these farmers-herdsmen clashes.
“We will stand by you; we will plant trees for you. When cows roam in the bush, they come in contact with different diseases.
“One of the reasons we don’t have enough meat and milk is because our cattle roam. This is something for us to be proud of as a country.
“We will bring you more machines for making feeds.
“We will send our team to you to commence artificial insemination to improve the breed of the cattle and milk production.
“To farmers, politicians, journalists, this is an example to follow,’’ Ogbeh said.
The minister handed over 25 tonnes of compounded ruminant feed, reaper, crushing machine and pasture seeds to the Army to assist them in the venture.